WIPO Lex is a global database that provides free of charge access to legal information on intellectual property (IP) such as treaties administered by WIPO, other IP-related treaties, and laws and regulations of some 200 countries.
WIPO Lex aims to achieve the objective set forth in Article 4(vi) of the WIPO Convention, that is, WIPO "shall assemble and disseminate information concerning the protection of intellectual property, carry out and promote studies in this field, and publish the results of such studies." WIPO Lex covers all WIPO Member States.
WIPO is a specialized Agency of the United Nations (UN). Accordingly, the coverage of WIPO Lex extends to IP legal information of the Members of the UN.
WIPO Lex also covers IP legal information of the Members of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in accordance with the Agreement between WIPO and WTO of December 22, 1995, which provides for the WTO Secretariat to transmit to the International Bureau of WIPO, a copy of the laws and regulations received by the WTO Secretariat from WTO Members under Article 63.2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property Rights.
WIPO Lex was made possible through a common endeavor of the Member States of WIPO and other relevant bodies who contribute continuously to enriching the collection. WIPO invites Member States and other IP stakeholders to expand and update the content by sending inputs and suggestions through the WIPO-WTO common portal (IP authorities only) or through the contact page (open to all).
Presentation and layout
The legal texts are presented according to the hierarchical category of the issuing legislative authority (see Members' Profiles). Generally, this means that the starting point of a given legal framework is the Constitution or Basic law of the land, followed by laws enacted by the legislative branch of government (and in certain jurisdictions, those issued by the executive). The next tier in the hierarchy is the implementing rules and regulations, which provide more details and "flesh out" the related statutory enactment.
Texts of laws, regulations and treaties are arranged chronologically from the most recent to the earliest reflecting the full title as it appears on the body of the text.
Historical version and related texts
Only those primary and subsidiary legislation which are currently in force are listed under each Member's profile. However, the historical version(s) of the texts (e.g., those which have been repealed or superseded), to the extent that these are available, are featured on the Bibliographic Entry page for each text. In addition, the Bibliographic Entry page includes information concerning any related legislation (e.g., those which amend, repeal or consolidate), the dates of the current version and entry into force, and in certain instances, "Notes" that highlight relevant information concerning that particular legislation.
WIPO Lex has multiple sources, from which the texts in the database originate:
- Notifications from WIPO Members under Article 15(2) of the Paris Convention and Article 24(2) of the Berne Convention, which provide that Member States shall communicate to the International Bureau of WIPO all new laws and official texts concerning the protection of industrial property and copyright, respectively, and that the latter shall assemble and publish this information.
- Notifications from WTO Members under Article 63.2 of the Agreement on Trade-Related Aspects of Intellectual Property (TRIPS), which obliges WTO Members to notify their IP legislation to the TRIPS Council, and cooperation between WIPO and WTO in accordance with the Agreement between WIPO and WTO of December 22, 1995.
- Direct submissions from national IP offices of texts of IP laws and regulations.
- The websites of national IP offices and other credible legal databases from which authorization to reproduce the texts in WIPO Lex has been secured in cases where prior authorization is required.
To the extent possible, all available language versions of any given text are featured on WIPO Lex, including the relevant national language. Where the English version is unavailable from the above-mentioned sources, WIPO makes every effort to provide courtesy translation in English for main IP laws, especially for laws of least-developed and developing countries. [Such translations, however, are not authenticated texts, and in case of any divergences, reference must be made to the original authoritative language text.]
The development of WIPO Lex takes into account all potential users. Full accessibility of some parts of the site may be more difficult to achieve due to the nature and complexity of the content which is received in a variety of electronic formats; however, finding solutions to these issues is one of our priorities. Efforts will continue to make WIPO Lex fully accessible to the general public.
WIPO maintains WIPO Lex to facilitate public access to IP legal information such as treaties administered by WIPO, other IP-related treaties, some national laws, and regulations of the Member States of WIPO, the United Nations and members of WTO. Every effort is made to provide authoritative and up-to-date legal texts. Errors brought to our attention will be promptly corrected (see contact page and include errors to be corrected or any other comments for improvement of WIPO Lex in a box "Question"). However, it cannot be guaranteed that a text in the database is an exact reproduction of the officially adopted text, especially in view of formatting features which have been added, and are intended to facilitate viewing and use of the text as well as to maximize its accessibility to a wide audience.
This database is general in character and is not meant to address specific issues or problems of any particular individual or entity. No legal advice or recommendation is implied in its content, nor should any be inferred therefrom.